The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has confirmed that no patients or staff were injured after a fire broke out at Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH) in Johannesburg.
The blaze broke out in the early hours of Monday morning at a wendy house used as a temporary storage area for Covid-19 medical waste and an in-transit corpse area.
Steve Biko Hospital fire
GDoH spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the fire which affected temporary structures at the facility was successfully extinguished by the SBAH hospital team, using the fire extinguishers on site.
“Thankfully, there were no patients or staff casualties. Eighteen patients and one corpse that were in separate temporary structures close to where the fire broke out had to be moved to other areas of the hospital as a safety precaution.”
Kekana said the fire also affected a special temporary isolation unit and a tent used for triage (for persons under investigation).
“The affected structures were located outside the casualty area of the hospital.”
Kekana said the cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.
Health system challenges
Meanwhile, the GDoh said while there are challenges within the health system in the province and in the country, the Gauteng health system remains intact.
This comes after a recent open letter by paediatrician Dr Tim De Maayer to the Department of Health, detailing the devastating consequences a failing public health system is having on young patients.
The doctor said a lack of resources is resulting in the death of babies at the hospital.
De Maayer has been a member of the Rahima Moosa paediatrics department for well over a decade, according to Professor Ashraf Coovadia, the head of the department.
The GDoH said despite De Maayer’s outcry over the state of healthcare provision at the facility, the system remains intact and continues to serve millions of patients annually from within the province and from neighbouring provinces and countries.